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Part 2 - large company Vs small company - does size matter when it comes to your career?

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Lizzie Tasker Blog, Career Advice, Job Search...

Having a choice in your career, whatever stage you’re at, is a great position to be in.  And in the candidate-driven market of today, there’s a better than ever chance that you could be.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that after hours of CV writing, an application process, rounds of interviews, and testing, that the recruitment process is a two-way street. For most candidates, accepting a job offer is a big decision. There are lots of factors to consider along the way; the job role, the location, or the pay and benefits, to name just a few. But what about the size of the company itself?

Organisations come in all shapes and sizes, but in broad terms, a business with less than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £10m is deemed as a small business, 50-250 employees and a turnover of less than £50m a medium business and 250+ employees and a turnover of £50m+ a large business.

So which is best to work for? Well, there’s no right or wrong answer! Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. 

In the final part of our two-part blog, we look at the advantages and disadvantages of working for a smaller business. 

It’s also important to remember that every company is different and not all large and small organisations will fall into these generalisations.  

Advantages of working for a small company

Family-feel

Working closely with a smaller number of colleagues can encourage a greater sense of belonging and community.  Having people you class as friends at work can be a big pull when it comes to job satisfaction. Working closely with the owners of the business can also foster loyalty.

Creativity

With a flatter business structure, new ideas can be put into action quickly and easily without the red tape that might be involved at a larger firm. This gives employees the freedom to ‘think outside the box’ and come up with new ways of working or even new products or services.

Variety

Working in a smaller business can mean having to be more flexible when it comes to the remit of your role. With less employees, there’s more likely to be a need for you to cover other job roles or pick up additional projects or duties in times of growth or change. This brings with it opportunities to upskill in other areas and take on more responsibilities that you might not have had the chance to do elsewhere.

Recognition

The ability to have more of a direct impact on a business’ operating procedures, strategy, and objectives can be extremely motivating from a personal perspective. But also, you’re potentially more likely to be recognised by your peers and leaders.

Disadvantages of working for a small company

Less opportunity

Whilst your exposure to the wider running of the business might be increased, you may be limited by the size of the firm in terms of working in other locations, departments or on the big projects that might come up more readily in a larger firm.

Limit on progression

Similarly, you may find that there’s less chance to progress through the ranks as they’ll likely be less layers of management. Smaller companies may experience lower staff turnover too, meaning you could be waiting even longer for an opportunity to come up.

Less structure

A lack of a framework can sometimes leave employees feeling unsure how to deal with certain situations or workplace issues that arise - especially when it comes to sensitive HR matters.

It can also impact feelings towards pay too, whereas a larger firm may run on a transparent pay band system where everyone knows where they stand, smaller firms may have more flexibility to pay what they decide - which can be both a positive and a negative.